Thanks to steady adoption of simulation-driven design practices and a constantly changing regulatory climate, automotive engineers are in constant need of accurate materials data. Yet the reality is, materials data is complex, hard to manage and oftentimes spread across disparate resources.
A recently announced industry effort hopes to change that reality. The Automotive Material Intelligence Consortium (AutoMatIC), launched by Granta Design, a leader in materials data, aims to bring together OEMs and suppliers in the automotive and off-highway vehicle sectors to develop best practices for materials information and its use. The consortium is charged with optimizing tools that will help organizations manage all of the diverse materials-related data required, including amassing it one place, capturing information about the relationships between linked items of data, and applying the information resource to help solve practical engineering problems, according to Beth Cope, a Granta spokesperson.
“Many auto producers or suppliers don’t have best practice systems in place to achieve this task, and as a result, data can get lost, can be time-consuming to find, or fails to get made available to all of the people who could use it,” she explained. The result of ineffective materials data management can be significant, including productivity problems such as wasted time looking for data or unnecessary duplication of tests, Cope added. “Most of all, it means that organizations aren’t making the best decisions they could be, simply because they aren’t working with all of the available information,” she said.
Integrating the many different types of materials data required during the design process is a challenge the consortium hopes to address in its efforts. Today, design teams need access to data on plastics, metals, and composites, but the information is typically available from disparate sources, thus is hard to centralize in one place, Cope said.
Dealing with restricted substances is another process automotive OEMs and suppliers typically have trouble with and a scenario Granta hopes to address through the consortium’s efforts. “Companies need to combine information on the materials in their own products with data on the restricted substances that might be present in those materials (or in the processes or surface treatments applied to them),” she explained. “They also need to add in information on the regulations that might impact those substances now or in the future, and this is a difficult thing to do.”
AutoMatIC is modeled after similar collaboration efforts, including the Material Data Management Consortium (MDMC) and Environmental Materials Information Technology Consortium, both aimed at the aerospace and defense and energy industries. Like those other initiatives, AutoMatIC members will share lessons learned and evolve best practices along with providing Granta guidance on how to optimize its MI:Materials Gateway portfolio of tools for automotive applications—for example, helping to improve the materials models used as input for simulation codes or identifying industry priorities for reference data on steels, composites, or particular classes of restricted substances, Cope said.
In supporting the work of the consortium, Granta will provide members with access to its tool set and collaborate with members to prioritize CAD, PLM, and simulation tool integrations.
AutoMatIC will begin an initial three-year phase in June and founding members, including leading OEMs and U.S. and European suppliers, will be announced before the first meeting later this year. Companies in the automotive sector interested in applying materials information technology are encouraged to get involved.
Watch this video to find out more about how Granta’s MI:Materials Gateway works.